Auckland Nines: Mata’utia brothers dominate Knights squad

Knights players and brothers Chanel and Sione Mata’utia. Picture: Darren PatemanRoss’ big chance to shine at Auckland Nines
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Sione, Chanel and Pat Mata’utia will run out for the Knights at the Auckland Nines, the club has announced.

The Mata’utia trio played together in the Indigenous pre-season trial against the First Nations Goannas last seasonbut did not manage to take the field at the same time.

It is a prospect that appears likely at the Nines.

With the Knights opening their tournamentagainst St GeorgeIllawarra, it may yet get even more historic asbrother Peter Mata’utia is expected to play for the Dragons.

It raises the prospect of all fourbrothers taking the field together in the tournament’s first round.

The Knights has been grouped in the Rangitoto pool and will play Parramatta, Manly and St Georgewhen the tournament kicks off in Auckland on January 31.

Whilst the selection of the Mata’utia trio is a major talking point,Jarrod Mullen will captain the side atthe sametournament where heseverely injuredhis hamstring last year.

Ten Nines rookies will wear the red and blue includingNathan Ross, Paterika Vaivaiand Tyler Randell.

Jack Stockwell and Carlos Tuimavave will also wear the colours for the first time.


1. Sione Mata’utia

2. Jake Mamo

3. Dane Gagai

4. Chanel Mata’utia

5. Carlos Tuimavave

6. Jarrod Mullen (c)

7. Tyrone Roberts

8. Pat Mata’utia

9. Adam Clydsdale

10. Paterika Vaivai

11. Tyler Randell

12. Chris Houston

13. Robbie Rochow

14. Nathan Ross

15. Korbin Sims

16. Joseph Tapine

17. Jack Stockwell

18. Danny Levi

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Claims Manus Island asylum seekers denied food and water ‘complete rubbish’: Peter Dutton

Security staff entering Delta compound on Manus Island detention centre.Manus stand off halted as guards storm compound
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Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says it is “complete rubbish” that asylum seekers inside the Manus Island detention centre were denied food and water, while criticising what he deems to be irresponsible reporting of the tense stand off by the media.

On Monday, an Emergency Response Team from Wilson Security stormed the Delta compound at the Manus Island detention centre, bringing to a halt a protest by asylum seekers who had barricaded themselves inside and were refusing to eat.

Mr Dutton praised the Papua New Guinea government and the contractor that runs the centre, Transfield, for bringing the stand off to an end as he dismissed claims from asylum seeker advocates that people were being denied food and water.

“It’s [food and water] getting through and not being denied. There are circumstances where ringleaders within – the people who are in the processing centre – have denied staff access into particular areas or the delivery of that food. That is not a refusal of food by authorities,” Mr Dutton told ABC radio.

“I think it’s quite irresponsible frankly for those claims to be repeated and I’ve heard them again on the ABC and it should be clarified.”

Refugee advocates had claimed water in the Delta compound had been cut off, forcing asylum seekers to drink from drains.

Advocates also claimed on Monday that several asylum seekers and one guard had been injured when Wilson Security guards entered the Delta compound.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Prime Minster Tony Abbott was asked if he was confident the detainees were not mistreated during the protest or its conclusion on Monday afternoon.

“The important thing is that order has been restored,” Mr Abbott replied.

“This [the protest] was a major challenge to the policy of the government and I’m pleased to say that that challenge has been defeated.”

It has been claimed up to two-thirds of asylum seekers in the four compounds of the Manus Island centre have been refusing food in protest at the looming commencement of the Australian government’s plan to resettle them on PNG, rather than in Australia.

It is not possible to verify these claims independently.

Mr Dutton said authorities wanted to remove the protest ringleaders and that asylum seekers and their advocates were not helping their case by protesting.

Asked if conflict was still underway in the centre, Mr Dutton said there “will still be some people who will refuse to take water or food or will self-harm and we don’t want to see that”.

“That activity, if you’ve been advised by people, advocates or others to conduct yourself in a non-compliant way in terms of destructive behaviour or if somebody within the facility, a ringleader is telling you that somehow is going to help, it is not.”

Mr Dutton would not comment on the specifics of a deal that will see Cambodia resettle refugees who attempted to come to Australia.

“Our discussions are ongoing with Cambodia and I’ll go to Cambodia shortly. I don’t want to publicly comment at this point in time about the specific details,” he said.

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European shares hit 7-year high on easing hopes

The wave of central bank money that is expected to soon hit European shores may have worried the Swiss National Bank enough to abandon its peg with the Euro, but for share market investors it’s happy days.
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European shares soared for a third day to their highest level since 2008 on hopes that the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi will on Thursday deliver a €1 trillion ($1.41 trillion) quantitative easing (QE) package needed to help push the economy forward.

The German DAX index also hit a record high of 10,068 points on Monday to close 0.73 per cent higher at 10,242.35 points.

By contrast, the Shanghai Composite index fell by 7.7 per cent on Monday to 3116.3 points, marking the biggest one day sell off in five years, led by brokerages, after regulatory efforts to rein in record margin lending sparked concern that speculative traders will pull back from Asia’s top performing stock market.

Since the financial crisis, central banks have been actively trying to revive struggling economies through policies such as cutting interest rates and buying bonds.

Such actions have helped to build confidence and spur share market rallies. The US economy has also improved, but many other nations including Europe and Japan remain faced with deflation and are struggling.

UBS interest rate strategist Andrew Lilley said the ECB’s next stimulus package, which is an extension of that which it has already unveiled in the wake of the financial crisis, shows “central banks are still willing to experiment but the risks of doing so can get very large.”

Despite the stronger leads, and no direction coming from the US with Wall Street closed for a public holiday, Australian shares are expected to fall when the local market resumes trading at 10am AEDT on Tuesday with the SPI Futures pointing to a 0.10 per cent fall.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 added 0.19 per cent on Monday to 5309 points, its first gain in a week.

The Australian dollar is down against the euro and is buying 70.7 euro cents compared with 71.1 euro cents on Monday. It is, however, holding firm against its US counterpart above US82¢, slightly lower than the US82.18¢ where it was at the close of share market trading yesterday.

Nick Parson, National Australia Bank global co-head FX Strategy, said the big focus for Australia on Tuesday was Chinese economic data this morning.

“Retail sales are expected to remain relatively firm at an annual pace of 11.8 per cent, with industrial production seen steady around 7.4 per cent year on year. Overshadowing these will be the estimate for Q4 GDP which is expected to ease very modestly from 7.3 per cent to 7.2 per cent, the slowest pace of growth in over five years,” he said in a morning note to clients.

The Stoxx 50 index added 0.58 per cent to 3220.9 points on Monday, while London’s FTSE 100 added 0.54 per cent to 6588.5 points.

Switzerland’s SMI Index rebounded 3.2 per cent today after posting its worst week since 2008 following the Swiss National Bank’s (SNB) surprise move to end a cap on the franc.

“When SNB looked at the wall of European money that would be washing up on their shores they said no actually, I think we’ve had enough,” said Mr Lilley.

“The SNB has highlighted to investors the fact that central banks can have inconsistent goals from one-day to another.”

Denmark, meantime, has moved to downplay speculation that it may also abandon its peg to the euro by announcing an interest rate cut, which surprised the market, in the hope of preventing the krone currency from rising.

The Danish central bank, Danmarks Nationalbank, cut its deposit rate to minus 0.2 percent, matching a record low, from minus 0.05 percent and lowered its lending rate to a record 0.05 percent from 0.2 percent.

Gold was the only major commodity to gain, up only 0.02 per cent to $US1277.3 an ounce.

“Gold has always been a safe haven and it generally performs well in times of market stress,” said BT Investment Management’s head of income and fixed interest, Vimal Gor.

Oil retreated once again, this time after news of an increase in production from Iraq which will only add to global oversupply worries.

Brent crude fell 2.75 per cent to $US48.72 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate dropped 2.4 per cent to $US47.52 a barrel.

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Baby Gammy granted Australian citizenship

Help at hand: Gammy has received donations of more than $240,000 to help pay for hospital treatment. Help at hand: Gammy has received donations of more than $240,000 to help pay for hospital treatment.
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Help at hand: Gammy has received donations of more than $240,000 to help pay for hospital treatment.

Help at hand: Gammy has received donations of more than $240,000 to help pay for hospital treatment.

Bangkok: Gammy, the baby at the centre of Thailand’s surrogacy scandal, has been granted Australian citizenship.

The 12-month-old baby with Down syndrome will now be eligible for Australian services such as healthcare. He will also be eligible to apply for an Australian passport.

Gammy, who was born with a heart condition, was abandoned by his Australian biological parents, David and Wendy Farnell, last year, prompting Thai authorities to shut down the country’s then booming surrogacy industry.

The baby’s surrogate mother, Pattaramon Chanbua, said she applied for Australian citizenship because she wanted to safeguard Gammy’s future, not because she wanted to travel to Australia.

But there are not expected to be any restrictions on Ms Pattaramon travelling to Australia with Gammy.

Mr and Mrs Farnell have been allowed by West Australian authorities to keep Gammy’s twin sister, Pipah, with strict conditions, despite Mr Farnell’s previous convictions for child sex offences.

Gammy was automatically eligible to become an Australian citizen because Mr Farnell’s sperm was used, making him the biological parent.

Ms Pattaramon bitterly criticised the Farnells after they left Thailand with Pipah, saying she was still owed money by the Bunbury couple.

Gammy was critically unwell at the time.

When Fairfax Media revealed Gammy’s plight, people around the world rushed to donate more than $240,000.

The money is managed by Australian charity Hands Across the Water, which recently provided a new house for Ms Pattaramon’s family in Chonburi, 90 kilometres south of Bangkok.

Gammy turned one on December 23.

He has been regularly visiting a Thai hospital, with his bills paid by donated money through Hands Across the Water.

Legislation has been drafted by Thailand’s military junta that will ban surrogacy except involving family members, with penalties of up to 10 years’ jail for violators of the law.

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Sportingbet, Centrebet and Tom Waterhouse brands to disappear from Australia as William Hill moves in

Tom Waterhouse is chief executive of William Hill’s Australian operations. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
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Tom Waterhouse is chief executive of William Hill’s Australian operations. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Tom Waterhouse is chief executive of William Hill’s Australian operations. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Tom Waterhouse is chief executive of William Hill’s Australian operations. Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Punters will say goodbye to the Sportingbet, Centrebet and Tom Waterhouse online wagering brands as they are replaced by the William Hill moniker of their British parent company in the coming months.

Next month William Hill will start with Sportingbet to roll out its 80-year-old brand name, which refers to the original founder, the company said on Tuesday.

The rebrand of Centrebet will occur later in the year, while the eponymous brand of young bookmaker Tom Waterhouse will be scrapped in early 2016.

The branding move is somewhat of a backflip on a backflip. In September 2013, after William Hill spent a total of about $700 million acquiring the three online betting ventures, then chief executive Ralph Topping flagged the rebranding of the Australian assets.

“You’ve got confusion of brands and you have to look for a unifying brand,” he said at the time. “They’re all strong brands, but I believe the strongest brand of the lot is potentially William Hill.”

However, former William Hill Australian chief executive Michael Sullivan, who originally set up Sportingbet, walked away from the plan just a month later.

Mr Waterhouse was appointed to the top Australian job last year, allowing head office, which also has a new chief executive in James Henderson, to push ahead with the plan.

The young bookmaker said he was not upset to see his personal brand, which inspired controversy and public backlash in response to his aggressive start-up advertising campaigns, relegated to online betting history.

Since taking the local CEO role last July, Mr Waterhouse has been focused on transferring the three betting ventures to William Hill’s technology platform, shaking up his local leadership team and reassessing the brands’ marketing strategies.

“There’s been a whole bunch of things to get right before we could say now is time to hit the go button [on the rebrand],” he said. “To be at that stage and to be going down the path of being able to launch the brand here is terrific, it’s really exciting.”

William Hill will boost its Australian marketing budget by $10 million to build awareness of the new brand – putting pressure on incumbents Tabcorp and Tatts Group, as well as new start-ups like BetEasy and Ladbrokes. Sportingbet will be switched to the new brand in time for the Autumn Racing Carnival, as well as start of the rugby league and AFL seasons.

The rebranding will force a $205 million writedown of William Hill’s intangible brand assets, but the company said it could drive greater value from its Australian investments under one unified brand.

The statement was made as part of a trading update which also revealed an unaudited 11 per cent lift in full year profit to £371 million ($683 million) for the group.

William Hill has lagged the growth rates of Irish rival Paddy Power’s Sportsbet, and Tabcorp’s online operations, but Mr Waterhouse said the company was used to being a market leader. “They’re not known for going and doing things by halves,” he said. “They’ve come into Australia, put the house in order… With that in place we expect to grow significantly.”

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Ernests Gulbis and Alexander Kudryavtsev riled by Australian Open crowds

Live scores
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Australian tennis crowds are seemingly doing exactly what their job description entails: motivating Australian players but annoying those from overseas.

During Thanasi Kokkinakis’s five-set comeback against Latvian No.11 seed Ernests Gulbis, a vociferous Melbourne Park crowd sensed the 18-year-old Australian needed a boost, but their best efforts weren’t exactly well received by the more experienced campaigner of the two.

“Shut up,” Gulbis shouted at spectators who were getting behind their newest tennis star early in the match.

Not one to mince his words, world No.13 Gulbis has a history of being animated on court, and unfortunately for him, it worked out perfectly for Kokkinakis, who won the match 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 8-6 on Monday night.

With the score at 5-4 in the first set, Gulbis demanded the Australian crowd show a little courtesy.

“Show some respect,” Gulbis blurted to spectators, before asking umpire Pascal Maria “Can I finish?” during a heated conversation.

Maria at one point directed security into parts of the crowd after Gulbis complained.

Gulbis was given his chance at a post-match press conference to explain why he was so unhappy on court, but opted to deadbat all questions.

“I lost, he won,” Gulbis said. “I had no problem with the crowd.”

Meanwhile, Kokkinakis benefited from the supportive crowd, who chanted “We love you Kokky, we do”, throughout the match. He attributed his success in part to the full crowd that rallied behind him when he was down two sets to one.

“So I’m really happy with how I stuck together, even though I thought for periods I wasn’t playing my best tennis,” Kokkinakis said. “I was able to find a way to get the points and the games that I needed.

“The crowd was unbelievable all night. They got me through again.”

Gulbis’ incessant bickering came only hours after Russian Alexander Kudryavtsev voiced displeasure at Australian crowds, describing them as “animals” during his five-set loss to another Australian, Marinko Matosevic.

The 29-year-old became disgruntled after double faulting to lose the fourth set, something Matosevic believed was nothing more than an overreaction.

“I don’t think they [the crowd] were [animals],” Matosevic said. “I thought it was a very fair crowd.

“The crowd was unbelievable I thought and very respectful.

“Alex is a funny guy, but I think only one or two times they [the crowd] may have yelled out between serves.

“But it is a grand slam and that can happen at times.”

Tennis fans at Melbourne Park on Tuesday morning strongly defended their right to “get a bit vocal” in support of the players.

“I think it’s the Australian way,” said Jeff Watson, his face masked in green and gold face paint and shaded by a big sombrero.

“We will always cheer on our Aussies or go for the underdog, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

He said the disparaging comments made by Gulbis and Kudryavtsev about unruly Australian fans were unfair generalisations.

“You go to a footy match and every team has bad supporters. But it’s the overall they have got to look at, not the minority.”

In a crowded Rod Laver Arena, as Sam Stosur faced off against Romanian opponent Monica Nicolescu, the respectful silence was only interrupted by rounds of applause and positive reinforcement.

“We love you, Sammy … you can do it,” yelled Laura Taylor-Paine several times, but only in the breaks between points and after each game.

She and her partner, Rowan, agreed that vocal support was part of the game, and said the Australian Open demanded more respect and silence than overseas grand slams.

“We get behind Sam 100 per cent … I’m a PE teacher so I like to encourage and say things like ‘keep your head up’ and ‘don’t worry about it’,” Ms Taylor-Paine said.

“There is definitely etiquette here, which isn’t the same if you go to competitions around the world where people are heaps louder.

“They don’t have the same stopping and waiting for the end of a game before people walk through the stands.”

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Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon puts Portsea seaside property on the market

Leading media lawyer Justin Quill has isted his city pad 2401/50 Lorimer Street, Docklands Sweeping ocean views from 27 Summerhills Avenue in Lorne.
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27 Summerhills Avenue in Lorne.

The view of the ocean and the ferry pier from the well-positioned 11 Esplanade in Sorrento.

The waterfront home 11 Esplanade in Sorrento is on the market with price hopes of around $3.5 million.

The luxurious Sahara, at 92 Campbells Road in Portsea.

The luxurious Sahara, at 92 Campbells Road in Portsea.

The poolside cabana within lawyer and Western Bulldog’s president Peter Gordon’s Portsea estate at 1 Pembroke Place.

The Mount Eliza trophy estate Royston, which has sold for $4.5 million.

The upmarket waterfront home Romanby at 261 Beaconfield Parade in Middle Park has traded for a speculated $10 million.

Leading media lawyer Justin Quill has isted his city pad 2401/50 Lorimer Street, Docklands

The poolside cabana within lawyer and Western Bulldog’s president Peter Gordon’s Portsea estate at 1 Pembroke Place.

The Mount Eliza trophy estate Royston, which has sold for $4.5 million.

The upmarket waterfront home Romanby at 261 Beaconfield Parade in Middle Park has traded for a speculated $10 million.

Dogs boss departs posh peninsula 

Leading lawyer and president of the Western Bulldogs Peter Gordon has listed his resort-style Portsea mansion. Price expectations for the elegant seaside estate at 1 Pembroke Place are a drop punt around $4 million.

The property occupies nearly 4000 square metres of prime land in the peninsula’s most blue-ribbon postcode.

A cabana, with outdoor fire, overlooks the turquoise pool and a spa, surrounded by  impeccable gardens. The modern home with rustic, natural stone detailing has rooms of huge proportions, including five bedrooms and five bathrooms. There is also parking for six cars, a tennis court, gym and sauna.

Gordon left the firm Slater and Gordon in 2009 after 30 years. He was involved in some of Australia’s biggest cases, including the James Hardie asbestos inquiry and landmark medical litigations. He then set up Gordon Legal, alongside his wife, Kerrie, and son, Patrick, to assist victims of the drug  thalidomide and allow him to continue  philanthropic and pro-bono work.

Kay and Burton agents Liz Jensen and Linda Boulter are looking after the private sale. Prospective buyers can pass judgement at the open for inspections, which are underway. EP

Legal eagle leaves inner-city pad 

Another prominent Melbourne legal figure has listed his flash inner-city pad. Top media lawyer Justin Quill, a director of Kelly Hazell Quill, is selling his sleek city-view apartment in the upmarket Yarra’s Edge complex at the Docklands.

The two-bedroom property is rare in its size and one of only a few highest-level apartments above offices in the 50 Lorimer Street building, which takes in the CBD lights and the Yarra. Apartment 2401, on the 24th floor, is party-primed.  Exhibit A – a retreat area with built-in bar and a long, north-facing balcony stretching the length of the property.

The contemporary pad, which also has two car spaces, storage and access to a the building’s gym, spa, sauna and indoor swimming pool, was originally a three bedder and could be reconfigured.

Quill, who has duelled in court on behalf of channels Nine and Seven, 3AW and other major outlets, is deputy chair of the media and communications committee of the Law Council of Australia and on the committee of the Melbourne Press Club.

Agent Baden Lucas of Lucas Real Estate said downsizers and as well as young professionals are keen on the home, which can be viewed at scheduled inspections. He is managing the sale alongside his colleague Danielle Tardi. EP

Quietly does it

The city market is in hiatus but still, some big money has recently – and surreptitiously– changed hands.

Two whopper Toorak deals, each worth more than $12 million, have quietly taken place while most of the industry is in rest mode.

At 5 Illawarra Crescent, off St Georges Road, a double-storey home on a 2000-square-metre block with a tennis court, swimming pool and garden, exchanged after just a few weeks on the market. Kay and Burton’s Gerald Delany and Andrew Smith were the marketing agents.

And in Russell Street, a home designed by architect Stephen Jolson for his family – and also on 2000 square metres of AAA-land – has traded in a low-key transaction. No. 16 also includes a tennis court, pool and established garden around a double storey home. RT Edgar’s Jeremy Fox and Oliver Booth inked the deal. MP

Strip sale

The operator of Melbourne’s Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Company has paid a speculated $10 million for a waterfront home on Beaconsfield Parade, the palm-lined strip which it has been suggested should accommodate a light rail.

Brendan O’Brien,  whose various business interests include dozens of hotels,  is the mystery buyer of the very glamorous Romanby at 261 Beaconsfield Parade, Middle Park, which agents Nicole Gleeson and Michael Gibson of Kay and Burton only listed a few months ago.

The vendor was Walter Ripani who owns local shoe business Neet Feet. Walter and wife Nina paid $2.8 million for the home in 2005 before undertaking a major renovation and extension.

Romanby includes four bedrooms, four living areas and a self-contained studio atop a three-car garage.

Beaconsfield Parade is often touted as one of Melbourne’s most expensive residential strips measured by land value. Victoria’s richest woman, Naomi Milgrom, has recently renovated the nearby historic Hughenden mansion which was for decades the Danish Club’s Melbourne headquarters.

Over the years, planners have suggested a tram connecting Port Melbourne to St Kilda along Beaconsfield Parade would serve as both a tourist attraction and accommodate a booming local population. MP

Bye bye Eliza

Former cosmetic company boss Rudi Miklosvary and his wife, Ilona, are kissing goodbye their dramatic Mount Eliza mansion, Royston, for the sweet sum of $4.5 million.

In what is the latest multi-million deal for the exclusive suburb about 60 kilometres south of Melbourne’s CBD, Royston sits on 8066 square metres and includes four bedrooms and a horizon pool overlooking the water. The living areas, a study and gardens also have gun-barrel bay views.

Aqua Real Estate’s Michelle Skogluld represented the couple. Just three months ago, the agent negotiated the $8 million sale of the landmark Hendra property at 11 Williams Road, also in Mount Eliza. MP

Lew made headlines in 2011 by illegally developing a swimming pool on crown land connecting his waterfront mansion to the coast. MP

Desert belle

The peninsula estate Sahara has hit the market and despite its name, there is nothing less than lush about this patch of swish Portsea. The home at 92 Campbells Road is tucked behind high hedge and set in gardens designed by Paul Bangay, the landscaper to the top-end of the town.

The six-bedroom property with a separate, self-contained apartment is crafted from Mount Gambier limestone and features a children’s or guest wing accessed by a glass walkway. Throw in a sparkling pool and a championship-sized tennis court and it is Peninsula paradise. RT Edgar’s Lloyd Robinson with Ilze Moran are handing the sale. EP

To infinity and beyond

If lazing back with a drink in the calm of a designer pool to watch sea swimmers churns through the chop is your idea of a spectator sport, we have found the retreat for you. Number 27 Summerhills Avenue in Lorne – the resort town that is home to the iconic annual Pier to Pub open water race – is on the market with a $1,650,00 price tag.

Great Ocean Real Estate’s Michael Coutts with Craig Willmott are marketing the home, which has four bedrooms – including master-sized with en suites and with views of Loutitt Bay – and a showpiece infinity pool that, from the home’s position high on the cliffs appears to fall away to the ocean below, from where you can wave to the jealous sunbathers. EP

Sale away in Sorrento

The Esplanade in swish Sorrento is the the spot for boat and wave watching, which makes a rare property opposite the pier – and just across the way from the much-loved Contintental Hotel – a prized Peninsula plot. Price expectations are bobbing around $3.5 million for 11 Esplanade, with Kay and Burton tasked with the sale.

The property, dubbed the Ferry House, is sprawled across two titles and has a separate self-contained guest cottage. The dual level home was treated to a renovation in 2010 and exploits its position with a verandah and a deck from which to stickybeak at the ferry carrying holidaymakers back and forth from Queenscliff. The Ferry House will be auctioned on Sunday February 15. EP


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How to clean timber decking and pavers

Cleaning timber decks and pavers is the first step to creating an outdoor entertaining area.Having an outdoor space is central to alfresco living. With the warm weather firmly entrenched it’s not too late to ready your deck or paved area for entertaining.
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Popular surfaces continue to be timber decking and pavers because of their durability and evenness when being installed or laid.But no matter the surface it can get grotty and tired during winter. Boral’s Charlie Condo says a spring/summer clean of paved areas will wash away the remnants of winter and protect pavers during the hotter months.

“Prevention is the best cure when it comes to caring for pavers,” Charlie says. “Regular maintenance will help to keep pavers in tip top condition and protect against damage from summer outdoor activities, such as drips and spills while barbecuing.

A new or existing, a freshly finished deck is a great way to enjoy summer. The key to achieving a professional-looking result is ensuring the timber decking is well seasoned, free from natural extractives (tannin) and clean, says Tim Orbell of Tenaru Timber and Finishes.

For an existing deck, a thorough clean not only rejuvenates old decking by drawing out dirt and grime, but allows the new coating to properly penetrate and adhere to the timber for long lasting protection.

Charlie’s tips for caring for pavers:Sweep with a stiff bristled broom to remove leaves, dust and other debris. Don’t use acid washes or high pressure cleaning apparatus to clean pavers without engaging a professional, as they can cause irreparable surface damage if used incorrectly. To avoid rust stains, make sure metal outdoor furniture and barbecue bases are properly covered and always clean stains before they harden or dry.If laying new pavers, seal them after installation with a penetrating sealer. Reseal concrete pavers as required taking special care in heavy wear areas, such as around pools, and thoroughfares. A reputable sealing company can provide advice.If building or renovating, cover the paved areas during construction to protect against the damaging effects of mortar, oxides and cement.Tim’s tips for decking:If your timber decking is new, Tim suggests leaving it to season naturally after installation as this will allow the release of tannins from the timber fibres.

“Many people assume that decking timber does not need to be seasoned because it is kiln dried during the manufacturing process, but this is not the case,” says Tim. “Proper seasoning is particularly important for oily, tannin rich timbers such as Merbau, which have become a popular choice for decking in recent times.

“Coating unseasoned timber results in the premature degeneration of the applied coating and within a short space of time, will leave discolouration and staining under the coated,” Tim says. “It is preferable that homeowners leave hardwood decking timber to season naturally over a period of three to six months after installation.”

However, if time is of the essence and you need to complete the new hardwood deck ASAP, then Tim suggests using a product that will remove the tannin and oil much quicker.

Rinse the treated decking boards thoroughly with a high pressure water cleaner or hose. Immediately after rinsing apply a wood cleaner using a soft broom or brush (Tim suggests the new Sikken’s range.).Allow this to sit on the surface of the decking boards for 15 minutes. A scrub with a stiff bristle brush will ensure penetration into the timber fibre before rinsing with water.Allow to completely dry prior to coating.Once your deck is clean and dry, apply a finish. Finishes come in clear, tinted, semi-transparent, and solid colours. The look you choose is mainly a matter of personal taste. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for application but you can generally use a brush, roller, sponge or sprayer.Once the deck or paving is complete decorate the space with a table, chairs or bench seat, add a few potted plants for colour and enjoy!

READ: Tips to create the illusion ofspaceoutdoors.

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Ten things you need to know about Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis

Nick Kyrgios celebrates a point during day one of the Australian Open. Nick Kyrgios celebrates a point during day one of the Australian Open.
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Nick Kyrgios celebrates a point during day one of the Australian Open.

Nick Kyrgios celebrates a point during day one of the Australian Open.

Nick Kyrgios

He has a tattoo of the number 74

Kyrgios has honoured the memory of his late grandmother Julianah Foster by inking the age she died onto his hand. The 19-year-old said he is still torn by his decision not to visit his sick grandmother, who he described as his second mother, as he tended to his tennis commitments. He got the tattoo in Canberra with his brother – and did not give his parents notice of his intention. “She was a massive part of me, my brother and my sister’s life,” Kyrgios said earlier this month. “Every time I look down at my finger  now I’m going to be thinking of her.”

He was a chubby bubby

The golden boy of tennis did not always cut such a svelte figure on the court. He was a chubby little boy who picked up tennis balls for his oldest brother Christos. According to his family, Kyrgios was forced to hit the ball accurately and into the corners of the court because he did not want to have to chase a shot. “Nick was always the chubby kid,” Christos said. “Fat and slow. Easily tired.”

He wants to play Pat Rafter

If he could travel back in time and play anyone, Kyrgios would do battle with his compatriot, tennis legend Pat Rafter. “I’d play Pat Rafter just so I could beat him and tell him, “your serve’s not that good”,” Kyrgios said. But with Rafter, a two time US Open Champion and Wimbledon runner-up, recently dispensing of John McEnroe at the Sydney International, it it might be easier said than done.

His father is superstitious

Kyrgios’ doting father George will wear the same Akubra and shirt he wore during his son’s four Wimbledon wins when he watches him during the Australian Open. His mother, Nill, is opting for the view from the stadium rather than the box seat that Kyrgios has allocated for his family and friends. She will be wearing the same jade medallion her son has. “When he is in Australia I can’t not watch. I’ll try and enjoy it, whatever he goes through I can shout and carry on a bit,” Nill said.

He would not want Rafael Nadal as a roomie

After dispensing of then world number-one Rafael Nadal during his Wimbledon debut, Kyrgios has decided being room mates with him would be a tad awkward. “There would just be too much tension in the room, I reckon. I’d sleep in the hallway for sure,” he said. Legend Roger Federer has also been ruled out. “I would just be admiring him”.

Thanasi Kokkinakis

He is fashion forward

It takes a brave person to wear neon pink and green in combination, but Kokkinakis showed is taking strides forward in his fashion as well as game. During his epic win against 11th seeded Ernests Gulbis, Kokkinakis sported a perky little number. Apparently his sponsor picked it out with him in mind. “They were like, we only give this to a few. If you’re up for it, wear it,” Kokkinakis said. “I wore the stripes last year, but that was nothing compared to what I wore this year. … I was like surely in this outfit I’ve got to get the win.”

He just finished high school

Kokkinakis might have been making a name Australian tennis, but that excuse wouldn’t fly with his school teachers. After knocking off a few subjects at a time, the 18-year-old recently finished high school. However, there’s not too much point asking him about his results. “I think they were Bs. C-plus – I don’t know, I just try and pass, that’s all I wanted to do. I didn’t really care how high I got ’em, to be honest. I’m not going for aces while I’m playing tennis full time. I just tried to pass with the minimal work possible,” he said.

He has some high-profile fans

One of the world’s top tennis players Victoria Azarenka is apparently quite taken by Kokkinakis. The two-time Australian Open champion added him to Twitter and banter swiftly ensued. Last year, she tweeted him a picture of herself at NBA game, holding up a T-shirt with the slogan “So Cute”. “She likes basketball a lot. So do I,” Kokkinakis has said. The two were due to meet for the first time at the Brisbane International earlier this month.

He loves basketball

If he wasn’t a tennis star, Kokkinakis would have his sights set on being a basketball player “because the lifestyle is amazing”. The up and comer is a dedicated fan of the LA Clippers.

He’s a tad envious

Yes, the one half of the “special Ks” is definitely a little bit jealous of his good friend Nick Kyrgios’ success at Wimbledon last year. However, he’s breathing down his neck. “Oh definitely, I think there was a little bit of jealousy there, but it kind of shows that I’m not far off, either,” Kokkinakis, who climbed more than 450 ranking spots during the 2014 season, said.

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Kings Cross: can burlesque improve the fortunes of the red light district?

Burlesque: An LED-lit hula hooper is one of the acts in the X Studio’s new Friday night show. Photo: X Studio Glory days: The X Show will run at Creevey’s newly-launched X Studio over the famous Coca Cola sign. Photo: X Studio
Shanghai night field

High hopes: Ron Creevey, owner of the X Studio.

A raunchy burlesque dance troupe sizzling on stage. An opera star singing in a birdcage dangling from the ceiling. A drag artiste mixing and mingling with the audience …

Could this be the next chapter in Kings Cross’ mixed fortunes?

Hopes are high that after the slump in local business following the lockout laws, a burlesque-led revival could put the sexy – and the cash – back into Sydney’s iconic nightlife centre.

With the ghost of Les Girls and the spectre of its glory days as Sydney’s hottest spot, a new $250,000 Boho burlesque show featuring burlesque, acrobats, Les Girls-style drag, dance, comedians, an LED-lit hula hooper and circus performers has just been launched in the Cross as a weekly Friday event.

Choreographed by one of the Spiegeltent’s top producers, local businessmen believe it could kick-start a turnaround in the red light district, once notorious for classier acts than binge drinking and random violence.

“I’m passionate about the revival of Kings Cross after it was hit so hard by the lock-outs policy,” says Sydney businessman, digital mogul and movie producer Ron Creevey. “It should be Sydney’s premier nightspot but over the years it’s only focused on the younger crowd.

“So we need to bring top entertainment and glamour back for everyone, so it’s an exciting, sophisticated place for anyone to visit. I remember when people used to queue around the block to see Les Girls. I want to bring back that kind of great showbiz style.”

The X Show will run at Creevey’s newly-launched X Studio over the famous Coca Cola sign.

Formerly a nightclub, the space has been renovated into a studio, a series of bars, entertainment venue and radio suite for broadcasters like Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O to work from.

The cabaret has been put together by Australian entertainment producer Scott Maidment who’s currently running the Sydney Festival show Limbo at the Spiegeltent, and has been producing theatre and circus shows for over 15 years.

“We’ve brought together acts from all over the world, and from all over Australia, for this show,” says Maidment, “It’s just so exciting to have this depth of talent in a venue like Kings Cross every week, with visiting international acts.

“We want to bring Kings Cross back to its former glory. Our show’s been inspired by shows currently running in London, New York and Las Vegas, and Kings Cross is just perfect for something like this. It’ll be a real glimpse of the old glamour days of the Cross, but with a very contemporary twist.”

Kings Cross has been hard-hit by the NSW government’s lock-out laws, imposed after two one-punch deaths, which take effect at 1.30am, with last drinks at 3am.

While violence in the area has fallen, leading to a 40 per cent drop in alcohol-related assaults at licensed premises in the last year, so has patronage. More than 42 bars, clubs and small businesses have closed, with others, like the World Bar, reporting an immediate 20 per cent drop in turnover.

Locals are now welcoming the new initiative for the area, hoping it’ll be the beginning of a raft of initiatives to bring the area back to its former glory.

Chris Zafeirakopoulos, owner of Cafe Uliveto in Bayswater Road, says he’s offered to sell tickets for the venture.

“I think it’ll be great to show people they can have a great time without just drinking so much,” he says. “It’ll be a return to how the Cross once was, with fabulous entertainment.”

The show’s program is designed to evoke memories of the old heyday of Kings Cross, when Carlotta starred in Les Girls every week, Peter Finch performed on radio and TV down the road in Rushcutters Bay, Chips Rafferty was a local and the area was a bohemian hub for writers, artists and jazz musicians.

Creevey, whose grandfather used to manage two of the three main stars of Les Girls, Simone and Monique, and who is now also running Heath Ledger’s film company in LA, says he’s confident of success.

“Every city, whether it’s London, New York or LA, needs a great entertainment hub,” he says. “And we’re aiming to bring Kings Cross back into the spotlight to be Sydney’s.”

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